Administrative technician remains constant for ROTC

Katherine Colucy

Elaine Lafferre, administrative technician for the Army ROTC, has worked in the department for more than 36 years. Lafferre loves the fact that she is doing her part to serve her country.

Credit: Ben Breier

After working in the Army ROTC department for more than 36 years, administrative technician Elaine Lafferre has seen a lot of changes.

In fact, Lafferre’s presence has been one of the only constants in the department over the past few decades.

Because most of the personnel in the department are in the Army, they are usually moved about every three years.

“It’s been hard,” Lafferre said. “You spend most of your time working with the military people and the cadets, but they leave, and it’s hard because you become friends.”

Although it’s a sad occasion when someone leaves, there is some excitement knowing that someone new will be coming to take his or her place, Lafferre said.

“A lot of times, they have a whole new perspective about the program, so you do things a little differently,” Lafferre said. “The one thing about this job is you never do the same thing over and over again.”

Lafferre has been working at the university since she was 19 years old. She began doing secretarial work and was promoted to human resources assistant in 1975. In April, she retired from that job and took a new job as an administrative technician.

One change Lafferre said she is happy about is the new technology that has become available.

“Everything has become more technical, but it has made it easier to do the job,” Lafferre said. “When I first started here we had to use carbon papers so the computer was such a blessing when it came.”

Lafferre said she was not worried about learning how to use new technology because the Army usually trained her on how to use it.

“The Army gives you very good training,” Lafferre said. “Whenever anything new comes up, like a new program, computer or a new way to do things, they send you to training.”

Lafferre said her favorite part of working in the Army ROTC is the opportunity to work with the cadets.

“It’s so fun to see them mature,” Lafferre said. “I watch them come in as freshmen, and then they are here for four years, and they get that gold bar on their shoulder. It’s the culmination of everything they worked for. It’s like watching a little kid get raised up and go off on his own. The fun part is to see them achieve their goal.”

Barb Feyesh, who was the human resources assistant at the University of Akron, now has the position at the university and said working with Lafferre has been wonderful.

“Even after doing this job for many years, there are still questions,” Feyesh said. “Now all I have to do is ask Elaine what she thinks. It’s nice to have a support system because it’s not solely on you. There is another person that knows what they are talking about and can shed new light on a situation.”

Lafferre said she has learned a lot about the Army in her 35 years with the department, but she gained a deeper respect for work the military does after she worked at a training camp this summer.

“I had to do paperwork to get (cadets) to the camp and paperwork to get them back, but I didn’t know all the workings of it until I went,” Lafferre said. “I had no idea what they go through and the sacrifices they make. They train very hard from morning to night. You leave your job, and you get to go home and kick back, but they don’t. They have to keep going no matter what.”

Through all her years with the Army ROTC, Lafferre said she has really enjoyed her job.

“It’s been the most satisfying and rewarding job,” Lafferre said. “The Army is very much needed, and it makes me feel like I’m doing a little bit to serve the country. The cadets are fun to be around, and they are good kids. It’s a joy to work here; other wise I wouldn’t have stayed so long.”

Contact ROTC reporter Katherine Colucy at [email protected].